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causal agencies become in thought confused and indefinite. And eventually, without any change in the nature of the process, there is reached the consciousness of a universal causal agency, which cannot be conceived."* In the Sociology it is distinctly stated that the Law of Evolution is exemplified in developed mythologies by the fact that different kinds of supernatural beings grow more defined. The next step of progress, according to the Essays, is "a loss of distinctness in their individualities;" and from this point there is an advance not from the indefinite to the definite as heretofore, but from the indefinite to the more indefinite. Is it true, then, that this “theory of the Cosmos,.. ending with a universal Unknown Power, exemplifies the law that necessitates an advance from the indefinite to the definite, or is entirely clear that it is out of harmony with that law? Either there is a mistake here in interpreting the facts of the religious development of the race as being toward an ever increasing indefiniteness in the concept of Deity, or else this is a signal instance in which the universal Law of Evolution fails to account for the facts. If Spencer's assertion is true that the object of religious cognition has, in all religious systems, always remained the same,t it is difficult to see why the multitudinous gods of polytheism should be regarded as separate factors in the religious problem, to be distinguished and again united according to the Law of Evolution, as Spencer himself bas unsuccessfully attempted to do. The universal causal agent being considered as an indivisible and constant factor, the question as to the adequacy of any particular religion, will turn upon the clearness with wbich the relationship between the divine and human is apprehended. However this may be, we repeat that, if it is a fact that Spencer's theory of the progress of religious ideas maintains an advance from the indefinite to the more indefinite, then it is not a fact that it exemplifies the Law of Evolution. Plainly, if his theory is to conform to the Law, the termination of that theory must be something other than the Unknowable. Even from his own standpoint as well as from the standpoint of many of his critics, it would seem necessary to reconstruct his definiEssays, vol. iii., p. 67.

+ Ibid, p. 73. | Cf. Caird's Philosophy of Religion, p. 326.

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tions of the conceivable as that which can be pictured by the imagination and the infinite as the indefinite-definitions which, at the very beginning of bis investigations, assume the conclusions at which he arrives.

But farther; there should be, according to the Evolution formula, an advance not only from the homogeneous to the heterogeneous, from the indefinite to the definite, but also from the incoherent to the coherent, i. e., from a loose or superficial unity to a unity that is intimate and complete. But what union can there be between man and an impersonal Deity that is retreating farther and farther into unknowableness? Sup. pose it be granted that reverence and fear are due to a Deity, union and communion with such an one would be impossible. It has been well said that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, but it is only the beginning.” Not without reason is it that, when Spencer comes to deal with character and con. duct in his Data of Ethics, the Unknowable becomes the Ignored. As Comtism must be rejected as “old in structure," because it presents a unity without difference—a homogeneity without heterogeneity-s0 Cosmism must be rejected as likewise "old in structure," inasmuch as it furnishes a "differentia. tion" for which it can offer no corresponding "integration." In this case, unity without difference and difference without unity are equally meaningless, and either is palpably nearer to “the beginning of human progress considered as a development" than to that highest development that includes both differentiation and integration.

It remains to apply the same test to Christianity as bas been applied to the two systems that have been offered to take its place. Having noticed the essential identity of the Law of Evolution with the Hegelian formula of unity in diversity, it is interesting to observe, in passing, that a prominent school among the Hegelians regard Christianity as a most perfect practical exemplification of this principle. It is conceded by all, no matter of what philosophic school, that Christianity, in its emphasis of moral responsibility, in its assertion of the free. dom and equality of all men before God, and, we should add, in its proof that immortality is not a fiction but a fact, bas been a potent agent in producing the recognition of individu

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ality that so distinguishes modern life and thinking. In this respect it is universally acknowledged that the times have not outgrown the Book. That Christianity is destined to become obsolete, is urged on other grounds, noticeably, because of its anthropomorphic conception of the Deity. This criticism, reduced to its lowest terms, means that Christianity, in ascribing personality to God, assigns human attributes to Him, and that, in so doing, it can only be regarded a refined form of fetichism, relative to human conception, and so, as insufficient in its nature for man's ever increasing spiritual needs as all the religions that have preceded it. In other words, that it is open

, to the same charge as Positivism, though in a less degree, namely, that it offers a unity that does not sufficiently distin. guish the factors included under it—a homogeneity without heterogeneity. To claim that God possesses personality is to limit Him, it is said. Be it noted, however, that if He is to be known at all, it must be as a person. Spencer distinctly states that "we are totally unable to conceive any higher mode of being " than Intelligence and Will.* But, he continues, the finite cannot know the Infinite. To assert that it can, is to humanize the Divine. This argument is a boomerang in its return upon its originators. Agnosticism, by teaching the impotence of the human mind in knowing the Deity, teaches likewise the impotence of the Deity in making Himself known, thus imposing the most limiting of all limitations. Just here the especial point of interest for us, however, is the confession that, if there be such a thing as definite knowledge of the Deity, it must be of a Deity who is a person.

As Mr. Spencer's Law of Evolution shows his Cosmic Theism to be defective in that it maintains an advance toward the more and more indefinite and incoherent, so here he indicates just where the defect lies, acknowledging by so doing, that the much criticised Christian idea of a personal God furnishes the only possible basis for resolving the heterogeneity of Cosmism into a coherent unity. We are brought, then, to the point that an idea of God, formed according to the Law of Evolution, must be an idea not of an impersonal but of a personal God. With such a result, what becomes of Cosmic Theism? Another valuable illustration it

* First Principles, p. 109. VOL. VII.


certainly furnishes of the constantly recurring fact that thought must be strengthened by numberless efforts to reach its goal by some other than the right way, and must be humbled by as many failures, before the truth can be approached as it is and received in its entirety. Only after centuries of travail has the world begun to recognize the idea as actual that, like lock and key, the personality of God and man fit each to each and are made each for the other. Again and again are we to be convinced that every attempt to break the lock or to throw away the key, shuts us out of the universe, and leaves it an unexplored mystery, wbile we knock unheard at its relentless gates, and list in vain our helpless cries of-whence ? whither ? and why?

Stripped of their extravagancies, both Positivism and Cos. mism seem to be selections from Christianity rather than its rivals. To live for others-vivre pour autrui—is the golden rule of Positivism. This familiar precept has been expounded by Comte with a force and fervor edifying to any Christian believer, while its meaning becomes vivid in the words of George Eliot, an admirer, if not an adherent, of the French philosopher : " What I look to is the time when the impulse to belp our fellows shall be as irresistible as that which I feel to grasp something firm if I am falling." But in taking away the motive and impulse supplied by the conception of the Christian God, and in insisting that we must not only love our neighbor as ourselves, but better than ourselves, Cornte increases enormously the demand on human nature, and, at the same time, reduces the supply of motive to a minimum, thereby teaching an altruism as impossible in practice as it is false in theory. Again, Positivism maintains, as Christianity does, that God, to be God, must be a God near at hand and not a God afar off. It recognizes with Christianity that mankind can never realize that God is very God, unless He be God incarnate. It fails to see that while the material element is necessary as an aid to spiritual apprehension, it is never (to personify) a vital member of religious development, but only a support to its infant steps or the staff to which it resorts, in its progress towards a perfected knowledge of the absolute and infinite God. Christianity admits the need of an incarnation only on earth and in

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time, as in the historic Christ, and foretells its "end," when the incarnate Son “shall deliver up the kingdom to God, even the Father," and shall himself become subject, that “God may be

* all in all.” In contrast, Positivism affirms the necessity of a perpetual incarnation, and its deified humanity effectually turns the eyes of men from seeing Him who is invisible. Christianity permits, but provides against the materialistic instinct; Positivism pampers it.

Finally, Positivism fails, and fails most of all, as we have seen, in that it gives the finite and human such preponderance as to exclude altogether the infinite and divine.

Cosmism, in offering its just and timely criticisms against anthropomorpbic conceptions of the Deity, speaks from the very heart of Sacred Scripture and to one of the sorest lacks

We are to be reminded that our God is the mighty Jehovah as well as the loving Father, and with bowed beads may pray from a felt need that

of the age.

More of reverence in us dwell."

Positivism and Cosmisin furnish each a protest against the other, and, as is apt to be the case, both are extreme. Cosmism rears a modern Sinai and the natural reaction from the vague mystery of its cloudy summit is, as of old, to the bare materialism of the Positivist at its base. Positivism goes too far on the finite side; Cosmism goes too far on the side of the divine. Positivism tries to make the Deity to human ; Cosmism tries to make the Deity too super-human.

While Christianity bas shunned the error of Positivism by refusing to make God in the image of man, it has avoided the endless contradictions of Cosmism by recognizing the fact that man is made in the image of God. It is unique among modern as well as among ancient religions in that it preserves intact the personality both of God and man, emphasizing rather than ignoring the immense antitheses involved in the religious problem, and in that it offers, at the same time, a reconciliation that is real. Is it asked how wide a chasm is fixed by Christianity between absolute holiness and sin-defilement? Not till the arcana of the humiliation and sufferings of the Christ of Galilee are revealed, will it be

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